Patrick Bamford’s second-half double against 10-man Preston helped Leeds United move back up to second in the Championship.

Bamford’s thunderous 25-yard shot put the visitors in front a few minutes after North End’s Ben Pearson had been sent off for bringing down the Leeds striker as he went through on goal.

Defender Luke Ayling hit the post as Leeds searched for a second, which eventually came when Bamford headed in a right-wing cross from Mateusz Klich with 14 minutes left to play.

Leeds are two points clear of in the race for automatic promotion, although the Blades will return to second spot if they win at Birmingham on Wednesday.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa had backed Bamford after he had missed several good opportunities to score in Saturday’s loss to Blues – a result which had seen the Yorkshire side slip out of the Championship’s top two.

The former Middlesbrough man repaid Bielsa’s faith in him by netting his first goals in five appearances.

Bamford should have completed a hat-trick late on, but he dallied when bearing down on goal and was dispossessed inside the penalty area.

Leeds deserved their victory, having been the most likely side to score even before Pearson was dismissed for the third time this season.

Klich came closest to scoring during a goalless first half, but his low effort from 20 yards slid just past the far post.

Preston’s third consecutive defeat severely dented their play-off aspirations as, with five matches remaining, they are six points below sixth-placed Aston Villa.

That gap that will grow further on Wednesday if Villa, who have won their past six games, avoid defeat at lowly Rotherham.

Preston boss Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire:

“I thought we were great. Most teams that play Leeds don’t go toe-to-toe with them – they give them the respect they deserve because of where they are in the league.

“They blitz teams normally, but we went toe-to-toe and I can’t really ask much more of the players in terms of effort and endeavour.

“The game changes with a mistake. We play a square pass, it gets cut out, and they feed the ball straight in behind. Ben has to try to recover and Patrick Bamford uses his head, he gets his body in front, goes down and it’s a sending-off.

“If there’s a team in this league that you don’t want to go down to 10 men against, it’s Leeds. They used the pitch and the ball very well.”

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa told BBC Radio Leeds:

“I like how Preston play. I like their style, their coach and the players they have. The physical tempo of the game was very high.

“I’m proud because all of the players had a high level of performance.

“Patrick Bamford improved his previous performance today in the game, with two goals and a lot of good work for the team.”

Line-ups

Preston

  • 1Rudd
  • 2Fisher
  • 14Storey
  • 6DaviesBooked at 45mins
  • 3Earl
  • 11Johnson
  • 4PearsonBooked at 49mins
  • 45NmechaSubstituted forStockleyat 87′minutes
  • 8Browne
  • 7RobinsonSubstituted forMoultat 58′minutes
  • 24MaguireSubstituted forLedsonat 70′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Moult
  • 13Crowe
  • 15Rafferty
  • 17Ginnelly
  • 18Ledson
  • 20Stockley
  • 23Huntington

Leeds

  • 33Casilla
  • 2Ayling
  • 18Jansson
  • 6Cooper
  • 10AlioskiBooked at 67mins
  • 23PhillipsBooked at 81mins
  • 19Hernández
  • 11RobertsSubstituted forForshawat 83′minutes
  • 43Klich
  • 22HarrisonSubstituted forBerardiat 77′minutes
  • 9BamfordSubstituted forRoofeat 90+1′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Peacock-Farrell
  • 4Forshaw
  • 7Roofe
  • 15Dallas
  • 28Berardi
  • 46Shackleton
  • 48Stevens
Referee:
Robert Jones
Attendance:
18,019

Match Stats

Home TeamPrestonAway TeamLeeds
Possession
Home41%
Away59%
Shots
Home5
Away22
Shots on Target
Home0
Away7
Corners
Home3
Away6
Fouls
Home7
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Preston North End 0, Leeds United 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Preston North End 0, Leeds United 2.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Ledson (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Alan Browne.

Attempt missed. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Pontus Jansson.

Attempt blocked. Jayden Stockley (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Darnell Fisher.

Attempt saved. Mateusz Klich (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Pablo Hernández.

Substitution

Substitution, Leeds United. Kemar Roofe replaces Patrick Bamford.

Foul by Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United).

Joshua Earl (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Jayden Stockley replaces Lukas Nmecha because of an injury.

Delay in match Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End) because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Leeds United. Adam Forshaw replaces Tyler Roberts.

Booking

Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Liam Cooper (Leeds United).

Louis Moult (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Leeds United. Mateusz Klich tries a through ball, but Pablo Hernández is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Mateusz Klich (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Pablo Hernández.

Foul by Mateusz Klich (Leeds United).

Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Leeds United. Gaetano Berardi replaces Jack Harrison.

Goal!

Goal! Preston North End 0, Leeds United 2. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Mateusz Klich.

Hand ball by Louis Moult (Preston North End).

Attempt saved. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jack Harrison with a cross.

Attempt missed. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Ryan Ledson replaces Sean Maguire.

Foul by Patrick Bamford (Leeds United).

Joshua Earl (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Storey (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lukas Nmecha.

Booking

Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United).

Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Luke Ayling (Leeds United) hits the right post with a left footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.

Goal!

Goal! Preston North End 0, Leeds United 1. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.

Attempt saved. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Luke Ayling.

Foul by Patrick Bamford (Leeds United).

Jordan Storey (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Louis Moult replaces Callum Robinson.